This week I have an exercise in extremes to share. Despite the fact that we are just 30 miles east and a suburb of one of the largest cities in the world, there really is a lot of natural beauty here on Long Island and I constantly search it out to paint it. But there is more to the Island than just the coastal beauty and the magnificent variety of trees. There is the infrastructure which, if the artist makes an attempt to handle it properly, can be quite striking as well.
Last Thursday night I was driving home from teaching on the Long Island Expressway. The LIE, Route 495, bisects the Island horizontally all the way from New York City at it’s western end to Riverhead in the east which lies in the crotch of the two forks of the Island, a distance of about 100 miles. It is not always avoidable (though most of us wish it was) and the traffic, especially during the summer Hamptons season can turn it into one long parking lot! However, at night, it is usually not too bad traffic wise and it gets me home from Dix Hills in about a half hour.
For some reason or another I was captivated by the look of it while driving home. The lights are mesmerizing and despite the fact that it was 10PM there did seem to be a lot of notes of color from the brake lights to the exit signs.
So, I decided to paint it. However, this decision brought with it some logistical difficulties. Setting up an easel in the center lane of a 55 MPH highway seemed…risky? And the fact that I wanted to do this at night took away any real possibility of doing it from photographic reference. My solution was to have my wife drive back and forth between a few exits while I studied, tried to get some photographs, and took loads of notes from what I observed. The result was painted largely from memory and very quickly to try to preserve the sense of motion.
"The Long Island Expressway~A Nocturne"12 X 16 oil on panel. Click on the link below the painting for purchasing details.
I spied the next view this past Saturday and thought to head out to do it on Sunday but the weather was bad so I had to wait until this morning. This marked my first trip outdoors, albeit around the corner, to paint this year and it felt good. It struck me when I returned home that the tree looked as jolly, fat, and exuberant as the artist did knowing that spring was finally here!
"Violets and Marsh Marigolds"12 X 9 oil on canvas. Click on the link below the painting for purchasing details.
I am also pleased to announce that I have been juried in to the Wayne Arts Center’s annual plein air event in Wayne, PA. I participated in this event last year and despite the fact that we had non-stop rain really enjoyed it. I hope we have better weather this year.